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Health overhaul debate snags Senate pharmacy bill

November 11, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after a meningitis outbreak from contaminated pain injections from a Massachusetts company killed at least 64 people and sickened hundreds, Congress is ready to increase federal oversight over compounding pharmacies that custom-mix medications.

But before the bill gets to President Barack Obama for his signature, it first has to clear a hurdle put in its path by Louisiana Sen. David Vitter. A test vote is scheduled for Tuesday evening.

The pharmacy legislation was passed by the House in September. It is intended to avert a repeat of last year’s meningitis outbreak associated with the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Framingham.

Vitter wants the Senate to first vote on making members of Congress disclose which of their aides are being exempted from having to sign up for so-called “Obamacare.”

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